Conceived by the Architect William Burges (1827-1881), but not executed until ten years after his death, the Animal Wall is one of the castle’s most remarkable features. Extended in the 1930s to include further animals, the wall was the work of two different sculptors; Thomas Nicholls and Alexander Carrick. Originally intended to be part of a ‘Moat Garden’ for the 3rd Marquess of Bute, it was part of a larger, more elaborate scheme that was intended to include statues and fountains.
This lecture tells the full story of its history and design, and how it came to be regarded with huge affection by an entire generation of Cardiff children in the 1930s.
Cardiff's Edwardian Buildings
Cardiff may have been a Victorian ‘boom town’, but in 1905 it became Wales’s first City. An impressive new Civic Centre in grandiose Baroque style had been conceived, in dazzling white Portland stone, to house the City Hall, Law Courts, University buildings, National Museum and ultimately, a new Welsh Parliament building.
Along with Banks, theatres and other commercial buildings, the lecture tells the story of the City’s new confidence and prosperity. Even the more modest houses and shops used by its more ordinary citizens displayed an attention to detail and craftsmanship that is appreciated now more than ever before. This lecture includes the many facets of the city’s Edwardian built heritage.
Cardiff's Victorian Buildings
Cardiff grew at such a rapid pace during the reign of Queen Victoria, that it became known as ‘The Welsh Chicago’. The industries of coal, iron, tinplate and shipping fuelled a boom in building, and the town also benefitted from the patronage of the 3rd Marquess of Bute, who was one of the greatest architectural patrons of the age, as well as being the biggest local landowner.
This lecture looks at most aspects of Cardiff’s Victorian buildings, humble as well as great, domestic as well as commercial. It guarantees that the audience will be informed, educated and amused!
The Lost Houses of Cardiff
This lecture brings together much previously unseen material, and looks at a number of long-demolished ‘gentleman’s houses’ in Cardiff. These grand houses usually had three or more large reception rooms and up to fifteen bedrooms. Some had one or sometimes two entrance lodges, as well as gardener’s cottages and stables, all set in extensive gardens. Many (although not all) of these were built during the boom in prosperity of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, on the then outskirts of the town. By the 1930s, fast-expanding suburbs grew around these often large but labour-intensive mini-mansions, enclosing their grounds, and making them less desirable places to live. One by one they found other uses, or were demolished and other, smaller houses built in their place.
Today they are often completely forgotten, with sometimes only a street name, the occasional mature tree or a boundary wall marking where they once stood. This fascinating talk will introduce you to a privileged Cardiff you probably never knew existed.
Victorian Cardiff in Old Photographs
This fascinating look at Cardiff begins in the late 1840s, at the very dawn of photography, when the very earliest images of the town were captured. The lecture illustrates the changing scene with the help of photographs taken by professionals, as well as by a group of amateur photographers, who caught all aspects of the life of the town. New buildings, new bridges and docks, old and new Churches, great events and humble happenings – nothing escaped the camera lens, providing us with a fascinating insight into the past.
Some images reflect the town’s increasing prosperity; fuelled by the coal, iron, tinplate and shipping industries, but these contrast sharply with the plight of the poor who lived in the town slums.
You Rang M'Lord? - Working for the Marquesses of Bute
Until the Second World War, millions of men and more especially women, worked as domestic servants in houses all over Britain. The work could be hard but for those working in ‘Good’ service – working that is, for an upper-class family such as that of the Marquess of Bute, there were often unexpected benefits. These sometimes included security of tenure, the opportunity to travel, and the secure knowledge that they would be ‘looked after’ in retirement or in times of trouble.
This lecture looks at the world of domestic service, and more particularly at that of the Bute household, and gives a fascinating insight into a vanished world.